I was talking with a young pastor who shared about how difficult it was to minister within his community. In despair the young pastor hung his head. “I am so poor, I don’t own a house, I don’t have a car or nice clothing. People see me and what I have and it is difficult for me to witness to them.” As he talked I could sense the discouragement within the young man. Wanting to do well, his life circumstances seemed to get in the way of him affectively serving His Lord Jesus. What could increase your ability to witness and to share the good news of Jesus more affectively? This young pastor anticipated that having a better lifestyle, more money, better clothing, more honor or success would increase his effectiveness in witnessing. In our eyes we might even distain leaders whose lives do not measure up in the areas of their clothing, lifestyle and public prestige.
However in 1 Cor. 4:9-13 the apostle Paul lists some of the attributes that were upon the apostles, he lists how the people in the world viewed them. “We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.”
In spite of how the apostles were viewed by the people around them, the apostles were bold and affective in ministering the gospel to the world. They were not limited by what appeared to be a lack in their life. They were aware that they did not have what people normally considered to be the most precious things in life. In Acts 3: 6 Peter and John declared that “I don’t have a nickel to my name,” (Message) but they did know what they had, and from that they ministered. “I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth get up and walk” (NLT). They knew they didn’t have many of the world’s resources, but they did have a relationship with the living God and with that they could minister. Later in 1 Cor. 4:16 Paul exhorts the believers to be imitators of him.
As Christians, we may not possess what the people around us have, but we have Christ within us the hope of glory (Col 1:27). This is by far more important and more powerful than all the other possessions we could have. Take a moment to reflect on what you truly have through Jesus Christ.